Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames.
NHL Predictions with Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Seattle Kraken
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1 – 0 Kraken
The last meeting between these two teams was on October 16th. The Blue Jackets won in overtime off the stick of Patrik Laine.
Unfortunately for Columbus, they’ll be without him for tonight’s game. Laine hasn’t played since November 3rd because of an oblique strain. Of late, Alexandre Texier has been providing most of the offence. He has five of his 14 points this season over the past five games. However, it hasn’t resulted in many wins, as the Blue Jackets only won one of those games. In fact, they have only won once in the past seven games.
The Kraken have faired a little better recently, but they too are coming off back-to-back losses, scoring only a single goal in the process. That goal was scored by Jordan Eberle, who’s led the charge for Seattle so far. The ex-Islander has 12 goals in 24 games this season. With an upcoming back-to-back on the schedule, the Kraken will likely give Philipp Grubauer the nod tonight. In six career starts against the Kraken, he has a 1-3-2 record.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-2 in OT
Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0 – 1 Flames
Our feature game of tonight’s late slate is a meeting between the Bruins and Flames. The last time these two clubs met, the Flames torched the Bruins 4-0 off a 27-save shutout of former Bruins netminder Dan Vladar.
The Bruins have been in Western Canada since Wednesday. They lost to Bruce Boudreau and the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout and beat the Edmonton Oilers with a late third period goal the following night. They’ll look to continue a four-game point streak as they try to keep pace with the other juggernauts in the Atlantic Division. Despite missing three games to suspension recently, Brad Marchand leads the way for the Bruins in goals, assists, and points. He has 12 goals in 16 career games against the Flames – his best goal per game against any other team in the NHL.
Leading the way for the Flames is former Boston College star Johnny Gaudreau. He too has had success against this opponent, scoring nine goals in 12 career games against them. Like Marchand, that marks his best goals-per-game against any team in the league. Gaudreau has 29 points in 27 games this season. His production has helped Calgary climb to the top of the Pacific Division standings.
This should be a tight, spirited affair between two great teams. A late empty netter by Elias Lindholm will seal it. Count Marchand and Gaudreau for a goal each.
Prediction: Flames win 4-2
Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 0 Kings
The last game between the Wild and the Kings was each team’s second game of the season. The Wild came out on top 3-2. The game-winning-goal was scored by Ryan Hartman.
Who knew that 25 games later that same name would be leading the team in goals? Through 26 games, Hartman has scored 13 times for what’s currently the hottest team in the NHL. An eight-game win streak has catapulted the Wild to the top of the league standings. While Hartman has been a surprise, Kirill Kaprizov’s production has been expected. The talented Russian has 10 goals and 22 assists for a team leading 32 points on the year.
The only point-per-game player for the Kings this season has been Drew Doughty. In fairness to Anze Kopitar, has 24 points in 25 games this season, Doughty has appeared in only nine games due to a knee injury sustained earlier this season. He returned five games ago. Since then, he has four points and the Kings have gone 2-2-1.
A win for the Wild tonight would give them 20 – the first team to reach that milestone this season. Bet on it happening.
Prediction: Wild win 3-1.
Dallas Stars vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Stars 0 – 0 Sharks
The Dallas Stars enter the first meeting with the Sharks having lost back-to-back games after winning seven straight. The Sharks are very familiar with the Stars’ leading scorer. “Little Joe” Joe Pavelski has 21 points in 24 games this season. Since leaving his former team, he’s only played them once. It was at SAP Center in San Jose, and he was held off the scoresheet.
The Sharks are about to play their third of a seven-game homestand. They beat the Flames and lost to the Wild in the first two. Tomas Hertl has stepped up recently, with five goals and one assist in his last three games. Backstopping the Sharks is likely to be the returning James Reimer, who has missed the last five games because he was feeling under the weather. Reimer has had an impressive season so far, with an 8-4-1 record, a 2.05 goals-against-average and a .944 save percentage.
Prediction: Stars win 3-2 in OT